REGINA — As hunting season begins to wind down, hunters are reminded to drop off animal heads for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing.
Testing is easy and free of charge, according to the Environment Ministry. It is available for deer, elk, moose and caribou from any zone in the province, but the priority is for heads collected along the boreal fringe and the eastern border. This includes wildlife management zones 2W, 9, 10, 35, 37, 50 and 55, which are specifically targeted due to a risk of the disease spreading in these areas.
CWD is a fatal and infectious central nervous system disease in cervid species that has no known cure. Last year, 644 submitted heads tested positive — two moose, 16 elk, 167 white-tailed deer and 459 mule deer. The government of Saskatchewan is providing funding towards research and development of a vaccine for CWD over the next five years in partnership with the government of Alberta and the Alberta Conservation Association.
Heads will be accepted for testing until Jan. 21, 2023. For more information, a complete list of drop-off sites and how to submit a sample for testing, visit: saskatchewan.ca/cwd.
Although no human case of CWD has been documented, it is recommended that you avoid eating or distributing the meat from animals that are known to be CWD positive. If your animal tests positive, the meat should be disposed of in an approved landfill and meat may be double-bagged and disposed of with household garbage in limited quantities.